One of the founding fathers of Positive Psychology, the late Chris Peterson, taught “other people matter.” In the early years of the field’s founding, Chris brought forward this additional and most critical aspect of well-being.
As you read Jada’s most recent contribution you will see how wise her observation is when taken in the context of Chris Peterson’s teachings. Knowing other people at a more intimate level allows us to know ourselves at a more intimate level.
In the early 1970’s I went to a small, all-girls’ school in a tough part of Brooklyn, New York. Getting to and from school safely was a daily challenge. The first few months I hated it. So deep was my dislike that I snuck into a public high school class one day when my school was not in session. I wanted to see what I was missing. To my horror, the teacher of that class did not even notice I was there. I went back to my school the next day with a better attitude!
The True Experience By Jada Yarbough
What exactly is the true high school experience? The media glamorizes high school life, giving kids high hopes and expectations for those four years. Going to a small all-girl school is a bit different from what we see in shows and movies of large co-ed high schools. The screen usually shows students going to the high school’s football games, enjoying homecoming dances and, of course, the infamous prom king and queen. Some of these high school traditions were unavailable at our school. My friends and I were left wondering if we missed out on what was supposed to be our “high school experience”. That was, until we looked at what we gained through our high school career.
Because my high school was rather small, the students had a very tight knit and supportive environment where we were comfortable with one another. We were able to truly focus on bettering ourselves. We realized that through the four years, we became better aware of who we were individually. Our small environment allowed us to grow more content with ourselves. The end result was we had become more self-confident and accepting. Though the experience was different from what we expected, it gave us the opportunity to find ourselves. We left high school with the self-awareness necessary to face our future.
For me, I learned the true high school experience was less about the big events like the ones shown on television, and more about the big changes we were able to see within ourselves.
Jada, when your awareness changed, your perspective changed. Great job and thank you for this post. Andrea